Ben's Surgery and Repatriation

£24,625 of £20,000 goal

Raised by 623 people in 44 months
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My boyfriend Ben Whiteside and I were travelling around Asia when Ben fell victim to a rare and extremely dangerous 'flesh eating disease' called necrotising fasciitis. This is a rapidly progressive bacteria which can take a life in a matter of days if left untreated. We were in Laos at the time Ben’s critical condition became apparent. However, the hospital in Laos was not equipped to help Ben, so he had to be airlifted to Bangkok where he was quickly seen to by an incredible team of specialists and surgeons. The team in Bangkok operated quickly and managed to save not only Ben’s leg, but his life.

Us at the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China, days before the infection took hold of Ben.

Due to the severity of this infection, Ben has to remain in Bangkok Hospital for several weeks to ensure that the infection has fully cleared from his body. Once he has been cleared, he will need medical assistance to fly to London where he can continue to be rehabilitated closer to home. Ben was incredibly lucky to come out of this as strong as he has, however the treatment which saved his life is totalling at quite a significant cost. 

Two of the four wounds after the surgery to remove where the flesh eating bacteria had infected tissue in Ben's leg.

I realise that it is somewhat unusual to start fundraising after the life-saving treatment has taken place, however due to the progressive nature of this disease, time was very much of the essence. If Ben had not had surgery when he did, the bacteria would have certainly taken his life within a couple of days.

The treatment has so far all been paid for on credit, so I have started this campaign in the hopes of relieving Ben and his family from some of the financial burden that this situation has inflicted on them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We will be eternally grateful for any support for this appeal. Let's put the smile back on this wonderful face.

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Hello again everyone.

I thought I would just give everyone an update on Ben's progress since he has been out of hospital.

His recovery has honestly been remarkable. Ben no-longer needs crutches to walk and has even been cleared by the doctor to drive (he got behind the wheel for the first time this morning!) The doctor and physio have told him he will regain full strength in his leg, perhaps sooner rather than later. The area that was infected will always be scarred to an extent, however the improvement in appearance is already quite amazing.

We would like to thank all of you again for the amount of support you gave us during this time. Everyone was so good to us, sending words of encouragement and support. And of course, the amount raised by far exceeded all our expectations.

For those of you who donated, I will give you a brief run down of how your money helped Ben. We did receive a fully itemised bill from Bangkok hospital (even down the the cost of individual surgical gloves!) However this was many, many pages long. So I've narrowed it down to a brief overview of the largest costs.

Air lift, Laos - Bangkok: Approximately £3000

Repatriation, Bangkok - London Heathrow: approx. £14,000

Surgery and stay in intensive care: approx. £8,000

Surgical debridements (x6): (approx. £2000 x6) £12,000

Plus many other details such as nursing fees, medication and room fees, the overall total cost was just under £54,000

Between this GoFundMe page, a fantastic fundraising event in Northampton and numerous private donations - we have now raised around £35,000. This has financed a huge part of Ben's treatment.

We have one more fundraising event to go, organised by Tom. This will be held at the Ivanhoe hotel in Carryduff, Belfast tonight. If you're in the area feel free to come along! More details here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/990737434349656/

I think we all agree, Ben was incredibly lucky to not only survive this invasive infection, but to be back on his feet just over two months after the ordeal was not anticipated by any of us.

Thank you all so much for your help and generosity!
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Happy New Year all,

Just dropping in to say a huge thank you to all those who have supported us through what was a rather tumultuous end to 2015, we have been immensely touched by the level of support and kindness we have received.

In total, we have now raised enough to cover over 50% of the medical bill through a combination of GoFundMe, private donations and fundraising events. This is a really amazing feat which has eased the financial aspect of this situation a great deal. As well as boosting all round morale!

Ben had his skin grafts done shortly after being admitted into the Ulster Hospital in Belfast. The grafts took to his wounds as well as could be anticipated, Ben has since been improving day by day. After five long weeks in hospital, Ben was finally able to return home on the 22nd of December. We have all been really impressed with the speed at which he has regained mobility, he is flying around on his crutches now.

Hopefully a physiotherapy programme will be started at the start of February, when the bandage on his leg is due to be downsized.

Although it was a terribly unlucky thing to happen, given the ferocity of necrotising fasciitis, things could have been an awful lot worse than they are now. It is thanks to a series of kindness from people in Laos, and our fortune of ending up in Bangkok Hospital, which resulted in Ben's life being saved. The following generosity and support from our family, friends and even strangers has lead us to be in the positive situation we are in now. For that, we are humbled in our appreciation for everyone's help.

I hope 2016 is a fantastic year for you all.

Anneka
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Thanks for the continued support everyone, Ben is still working on replying to each donator - hopefully he will get through them all by christmas.
Huge thanks to those back home who have been arranging various fundraising events in the meantime, we appreciate it all so much, everyone has been so great.

We have good news….

..WE ARE FLYING HOME TONIGHT.

Everything was confirmed yesterday, we are all so excited. Angela, Ben’s Mum, flew back this morning so it has all worked out really well.

We will arrive at London Heathrow in the early hours of tomorrow (Thursday) morning, we will then be transported to a military base nearby where there will be an air ambulance waiting to take us to Belfast. I’m a bit apprehensive about this part, I’ve always been a bit frightened of helicopter’s..

We are looking forward to seeing everyone back home - Ben will be glad to have some visitors as well. Although, we have been in BKK long enough to catch Rob, Sarah and Gabi on their travels here - thanks for coming guys!

Ben's recovery is going well, he has a long way to go yet, but he is getting more and more mobile each day. His wounds are showing signs of healing too, it's quite remarkable to see the human body's healing powers at work in this way.

Before all this happened, I was documenting our travels, I’m not fully caught up with our whole trip yet, but I am working on it. It may sound like we had a nightmare of a time, but everything was going brilliantly before all this.
For an account of these happier times, you can take a look here...
www.spacebetweenideas.com

Today we say our farewells to Asia, we can't wait to see friends and family back home!

Anneka xo
Waiting to go to the airport
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Wow! Target reached only three days after I launched this campaign. What a whirlwind this last few days have been. We are immensely grateful to each and every person who has supported this appeal in anyway, the response has been astonishing and has already helped ease the financial aspect of this situation a great deal.

It has been a roller coaster of emotion here in Bangkok today. Yesterday we were delighted to receive news that the excellent Ulster Hospital in Belfast will continue treatment in his hometown. This was the best news - and was also extremely well received by Ben’s friends and family, who are eagerly awaiting his return back home.

This morning the aviation doctor suggested that we would most likely be flying this weekend, we were over the moon with this. Unfortunately, this plan fell through. There was a lot of action on the helipad outside Ben’s room today, we watched the air ambulance flying backwards and forwards several times. Sadly, this kept the aviation team very busy, so Ben’s documents did not get through to Thai Airways before office hours ended. It is the King of Thailand’s birthday this weekend, which means a bank holiday, so offices will not be open again until Tuesday. As the airline takes 72 hours to process an onboard patient who needs a stretcher, it looks like we are in Bangkok until next Friday at least. This has been a huge disappointment for us as we really are desperate to get home now, although we will be genuinely sad to leave the incredibly kind and caring staff in this hospital. In times like this, you just want to be close to family, and of course everyday spent in the hospital is sadly adding to the already substantial bill.

In light of the success of the campaign, I have raised the goal in the hope of covering an even greater amount of Ben’s medical fees. After two weeks of feeling incredibly helpless while watching him suffer so much, I am delighted to be doing something that is helping to ease the pain that this dreadfully unlucky situation has inflicted.

Thank you all xo
After a two day hike up Mount Emei
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Read a Previous Update
Peggy Haines
44 months ago
1
1

Hope your trip back is going ok, Ben and Anneka. Was pleased to hear that you are on your way home.

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Brid McCarthy
44 months ago
1
1

Wishing you all the best for a full and speedy recovery Ben.

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Doreen Franks
44 months ago
1
1

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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£24,625 of £20,000 goal

Raised by 623 people in 44 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created December 1, 2015
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CO
£50
Celia O'Hagan
39 months ago
£20
Anonymous
41 months ago
£15
Anonymous
41 months ago
JC
£10
Jenny Clerkin
41 months ago

Good luck with the recovery!

JP
£20
Juliana Pattermann
41 months ago
SP
£10
SHARON PARK
42 months ago

I wish Ben all the best in his recovery!

£5
Elaine Brennan
42 months ago

Hope rehabilitation is going well!

BW
£10
Bernadette Whelan
42 months ago
JS
£40
Joan Stewart
42 months ago
£100
Anonymous
42 months ago
Peggy Haines
44 months ago
1
1

Hope your trip back is going ok, Ben and Anneka. Was pleased to hear that you are on your way home.

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Brid McCarthy
44 months ago
1
1

Wishing you all the best for a full and speedy recovery Ben.

+ Read More
Doreen Franks
44 months ago
1
1

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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